Well, well, well.
This is one of two films that Scarlett Johansson starred in recently, the other being Under the Skin. I’ve heard good things about both, but knowing the premise of Lucy made it easier for me to choose to watch it on the plane home. It’s not as interesting, and I expected it to be just another lame action flick.
In a way, it was. The middle portion of the film was a lot of action that felt quite meaningless. The ending was a trippy science fiction thing that ruined the film for me. But the start of the movie. Oh boy. For the first 30 or so minutes, I felt as if Luc Besson had finally rediscovered the Midas touch that brought us stuff like Léon and The Transporter (just the first one though). It was a brilliant, intense opening that only got better and better.
And it was all anchored on a brilliant performance by Scarlett Johansson, playing both a slightly ditzy blonde at the beginning, and a cool, emotionless machine at the end. And the choice of a female lead in such a role was great for the industry. Well, sure, Scarlett Johansson is still super attractive, and that only cracks the door ajar for non-white-male actors to strut their stuff as the leads in the film. But it’s a good start in an industry facing a dearth of films that feature strong feminine or minority-race characters.
As mentioned, the ending ruined the film for me, but maybe not in the way you might think. I would have enjoyed the ending much more if the film hadn’t fashioned itself as an action flick earlier, but it did, so the science fiction was jarring and out of place, leading to a somewhat dissonant conclusion to the film.
Another issue was obviously the premise of the film: the 10% of the brain trope. It’s completely inaccurate, and while Limitless did it tastefully by making Bradley Cooper unlock his potential (with side effects to boot), Scarlett Johansson just straight-up gets superpowers. It’s silly from a writing point of view, and it’s awful from a scientific perspective.
But I have to give Besson credit for the obvious Christianity reference he made as the two Lucys touched fingers, like God did with Adam. It’s probably stirred some controversy with conservative Christian groups because that implies that humans can become God, and create life and blah blah blah. It takes guts to throw in something so obvious as that. Not that I care either way (and I personally think it was a little too blatant), but again, guts.
The scene that stood out the most to me though was that driving scene. Having Johansson weaving her way through opposing traffic and causing all manner of car collisions without a scratch was quite some choreography. It was pretty much the high point of the film for me, because right after that was the telekinesis crap in the hospital, and things just went downhill from there.
So would I recommend anyone to watch Lucy? For the opening minutes and the driving scene, definitely. But otherwise, it’s just another movie.